How to write a job description: the checklist

Got a role so fantastic that you can’t fail to attract brilliant candidates? Well, actually, you can. Writing a job description – much like writing a great CV, cover letter or romantic monologue – is an art; get it wrong, and you could end up confusing your audience, or worst of all, missing out on your perfect match. From our experience, a good job description follows a certain structure – and lucky for you, we’re willing to reveal it. 

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At Enternships, we’ve been connecting brilliant companies with equally brilliant candidates since 2009, so we’ve seen pretty much all there is to see when it comes to job descriptions. Follow our guide below, and we promise that you’ll attract the talent you deserve.

In Brief

The key to a great job description is to strike a balance between core facts and detail. The skills required, the work expected and the opportunities presented need to be clear, but you want to make sure your branding and tone is present throughout. Make sure you sound like a company you’d like to work for – make sure you sound like you.

The Checklist

1. Title

The title needs to be both informative and interesting, and needs to keep in mind the key words suitable graduates might be looking our for. Candidates tend to browse via industry, so make sure your title has an appropriate industry key word within it (Marketing, PR, Finance etc) as well as a title suitable for the amount of work they will be expected to complete.

2. Opening statement

Before you launch into your role, it’s good to provide a punchy introduction to your company, what makes it brilliant and what it needs. No more than a couple of sentences, you can go into more detail later, but something that will make your applicants want to read on.

3. The role itself

An ambitious, business-minded graduate will be looking for a mix of responsibilities and learning opportunities, so bear that in mind when writing the ins and out of the role. What will you be able to teach them? How can they add value to your team? What will you expect of them, and how will they deliver it? Be as specific as possible; talk projects that you want to get them involved with, and how it will develop them. The tighter the brief, the easier it is to understand.

4. Desired qualifications

Here you can list your preferred academic achievements or any programmes you’d prefer/need your intern to be proficient in. Bear in mind that a lot of talented people may be inexperienced or just out of university – are any of these skills they can learn whilst with you?

5. Terms Of Employment

The hard facts of the opportunity: duration of the internship, the hours they are expected to work, the location and the salary offered.

6. Permanent?

Is there a chance for this internship to develop into a permanent position? Be upfront about this; the lack of development in the company won’t necessarily put applicants off as long as the role is genuinely interesting, and there are visible opportunities for personal development. But if there is a chance to stay on full-time, now is the time to mention it.

7. Filter Question

If you’re posting with Enternships (and why on earth wouldn’t you?) you’ll have the opportunity to ask a filter question of everyone who applies – this can be anything from ‘Describe a time when you’ve proved your leadership skills?’ to ‘Which are best shoes? Be prepared to fight your case’. Whatever you think will help display the sorts of traits vital to your role, and, possibly more importantly, to your company generally.

Once you’re happy with your job description, proofread (once, twice, a few times) and then give it to someone within your team. Do they think it’s written in your company’s tone of voice? Would they apply for it? If the answer is yes, you’re ready to post.

By Natasha Hodgson

Enternships Community Manager

Published by

Enternships

Natasha Hodgson is the Content and Community Manager over at Enternships. She loves writing about inspiring things, and Nicolas Cage. Luckily, those two things are not mutually exclusive.

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